I once sat down with Zvika Pick for a conversation about the politics of culture. There was then an attempt to establish a cultural center with a more right-wing approach, I was recruited, and I started working. I met with artists and creators, also with Zvika Pick. As Zvika Pick warned me, nothing came of it. He himself was then after an attempt to gather artists who think to the right. He was seen a lot at Ze’ev Citadel, at the Likud offices. He was painfully burned by this experience, and when he heard that I was planning to head a new cultural center of this kind, he said: “Are you crazy? Do you want to kill yourself?”
Zvika Pick, one of Israel’s greatest pop singers and composers, passed away at the age of 72
I wrote the conversation by hand. Above it is written: 9/17/90. He said: “I am very disappointed with my past activities in Likud”, and claimed that it is not possible to do anything with them in the field of culture. He said: “These are intelligent people who are not ready, however, to seriously implement anything.”
His disappointment was in several areas: 1. Failure to carry out his plans in introducing people with right-wing views to public committees. 2. Failure to support artists who are willing to identify themselves. They are not invited to perform, and on the other hand, and this is an insult, left-wing artists who attack the national movement are invited. 3. The system of defamation and boycotts of the left which cannot be defended against. 4. A general misunderstanding on the part of Likud politicians.
He devoted three years of his life to trying to do something culturally ideological. None of his plans were carried out. In that conversation he said what I knew: that it is important to commit to seriousness when it comes to productions. “If we fail even now,” he told me then, “the possibility of renewing culture will be completely lost.”
he was right. After three months, there was also a disconnect between me and the members of the Knesset from the Likud with whom I had to work (Rubi Rivlin and Limor Livnat) and who, in my view, should have been the stable “officers” of this move. The idea to establish a culture club called “The Winery” has not been successful until today. By the way, I got the phrase “Afsnaot officer” from the writer Moshe Shamir, with whom I also spoke during the same planning period. When I went through the lists from that time, I saw that I had written that Moshe Shamir said: “We need a warehouse officer.”
I quickly realized that when talking to Likud members of Knesset about culture, they actually think that they will bring the culture, and the artists will be their public affairs and public relations officers. The politicians want results in the next vote, while in culture the results come after 20 years, and even then you can’t expect what they will be.
Zvika Peak cut off contact with Likud leaders and activists. This chapter in his life is hardly mentioned at all. He is back to being the huge music star. Although, as Doron Cohen, the editor of this newspaper, tweeted on Twitter: “Like Menachem Begin, like Zohar Argov – Zvika Pick was the idol of the rascals and the joke of the elite. And as usual, from a historical point of view, the Arabs were right and ahead of their time.”
I met Zvika a few more times. Once it was in his show at the exhibition grounds. There I saw a picture that I had not seen anywhere else. In front of the stage tens of thousands of people, waiting for the show. Fences and bodyguards surround the stage. They bring me into a building behind the stage, where Tzvika is sitting on a bench, holding the hand of a girl who is sitting next to him with parted lips, breathless, looking at him with a look that indicates what is going on inside her at the moment, and what is going on in her is in the realm of energies unknown to faded people like me.
“Where did you come from?” Tzvika asks her. “From Haifa, I came from Haifa especially to see you.” She speaks with difficulty, her breathing irregular, the words pressed out in a soft exhale. The eyes are wet. “Then why are you crying?”, Zvika Peak’s voice is quiet. He speaks like a doctor who needs to calm a wounded man. At the same time, it is the voice of Zvika Pick, gentlemen, and the girl bursts into tears: “Because I love you”, clinging to him and planting a kiss on him. Zvika did not move. He doesn’t kiss back, but he doesn’t push her either. “Now go,” he tells her, “go now, okay?”
The girl from Haifa left, and I stayed with Zvika Pick, and we talked about what we needed to talk about, and here another girl burst in, trying to find her way around the unfamiliar place. She sees Zvika. It acted like a shot straight to the heart. She started crying and shaking, covering her face with her hands and uttering: “Oh” in all shades of voice. Three or four seconds, and the guards in the blue t-shirts took her out.
I wrote about it then, and described what I saw. Israeli culture, which so excited girls at the time, may also owe a little to Zvika Pick who succeeded, even though they failed and boycotted him, and without the help of Knesset members from the Likud or any other party.